Sri Ram Sene activists shouted slogans against Pakistan and disrupted a seminar — ‘Is Media Jingoism fanning Indo-Pak Tensions?’ — in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The activists, sitting among the audience, jumped up as soon as Khan Yusufzai of The News, a Swat-based newspaper, referred to an article suggesting that India should attack Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks. Four or five Sene activists in the auditorium began shouting slogans against Pakistan and demanded that the seminar be wound up immediately.
The organisers and security staff of India International Centre (IIC) caught hold of the activists led by the general secretary of the Sene’s Delhi unit Vinay Kumar Singh and took them out of the venue. There was also a minor scuffle between the activists and organisers when the former started using abusive language.
None of the activists was detained even though the police increased security around IIC after the disruption. “The meeting was disrupted for a brief period. It resumed after some time,” Madhu Trehan, one of the organisers and president of the Foundation of Media Professionals, said.
Yusufzai also provided an insight on how tough it is to report from the Swat valley. Ten journalists have been killed in the region and there are threats to blow up a building having offices of newspaper organizations. Many journalists have resigned from media offices in Swat and gone to major cities. “At most we can report from Peshawar and for the rest we have to depend on the security forces,” he said, recalling cases in which Taliban leaders have abducted journalists for presenting a correct picture of developments in the valley.
Talibanisation is also affecting the personal lives of journalists such as Saeed Minhas, editor of Aaj Kal, an Urdu daily published from Peshawar, who withdrew his children from a co-educational school after militants threatened to attack them. The Taliban has banned co-educational schools.